• Get a Hotel?

    Date: 2007.09.03 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    My wife tells me that I’ve been traveling too much lately. Since she’s never complained about my traveling before, I knew she was right. Thus, when the World Poker Tour event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles recently came up, I chose to fly to it on starting day, rather than a day early. That way, I had a day to hang out with my family. I considered skipping the tournament altogether, but this is one of the important ones with tons of history behind it. Way back when — in the ’80s and ’90s — this tournament was considered a “major” on the poker tour. In fact, the main event at the “Bike” was the first major that I won on tour, way back in 1988.

    I arrived at the bike at 2:40 p.m. for a 2 p.m. start time and was promptly given a penalty for swearing — oops. I had been in the casino merely eight minutes before they asked me to leave the tournament area for one round of play (about 10 minutes or so). And I was certainly guilty. I swore, but not at anyone specifically, just over the frustration of losing with 10-10, 8-8 and 10-10 in eight minutes of play. Losing all three of those pots was probably due to the fact that I slow-played all three hands. At the break, I decided to play more aggressively (no more slow playing!), and lo and behold the chips started piling up.

    With a loose and aggressive image, I made it $1,500 to go with 9-9 after Player A and poker legend Erik Seidel called the $200 bet (the blinds were $100-$200). My intention was to play a big pot against Player A (a loose player that had limped into the pot in first position). I raised it up enough so that the other players could fold their hands if they had marginal hands. Player B — a player in the small blind — now looked like he wanted to reraise, and eventually he did, making it $3,100 to go. I called, and the flop came down 8-5-2. Player B bet out $4,000, and I called, announcing to Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, “I have an over-pair.”

    Matusow — sitting at the next table — said, “Yeah right, pocket fours!” I called the $4,000. On the turn the 3d hit, and Player B moved all-in for $24,000 in chips, which had me covered (I had $20,000). I decided that I was beat, and I threw my hand away. Later, Player B told me that he had pocket fives.

    Let’s take a closer look at the play of this hand. I love my oversized raise of $1,300, and it was designed to look weak as I had raised two out of the three of the hands before this hand. Apparently it worked, as Player B made a terrible reraise with 5-5. Why reraise with pocket fives ever, when someone with A-K, a big pair or even a bluff, can then reraise you and force you to fold your pocket fives? And only $1,600 more, this was way too little an amount to reraise. A call would have been fine with 5-5, but a fold might have been better as the raise was so penal. I love Player B’s $4,000 bet on the flop. I don’t mind my call too much, although I almost folded right then and there. I hate Player A’s $24,000 all-in bet on the turn. Why not bet less? I mean, it looks like I have an over pair, and thus only two outs in the deck. So why not lure your opponent in when you’re a 20-to-1 favorite to win? A bet of about $6,000 would have been perfect. Even a check would have been better than an all-in move, because you could then get a $6,000 bet on the last round of betting paid off.

    My knockout hand came down in the same $100-$200 level, by the same player. Player B limped in with 7-7, eight-time WSOP bracelet-winner Seidel limped behind him, and I took a flop with 10-7 off suit in the small blind. The flop was 10-8-4, I checked, Player B bet out $600 into the $800 pot, Seidel called, and I called. The turn was a seven, and I checked. Player B bet out $7,150, while clearly intending on betting $2,650. Player B accidentally threw in a $5,000 chip instead of $500 chip, and I knew it was a legitimate mistake. Now I had an easy decision to move all-in with my two pair. So I moved all-in for $16,000 more ($23,000 total), and Player B called me instantly, and I knew that I was in trouble ( he showed me 7-7).

    Let’s take a closer look at this hand: I could have raised it up on the flop with my top pair of 10s. After all, I was pretty certain that Seidel didn’t have me beat. On the other hand, I don’t mind the call too much. On the turn I could beat all over pairs, and there was no way that Player B had a straight. Because there was no way that he would limp into the pot in early position with J-9. So it was a pretty tough laydown, especially considering that Player B accidentally bet so much on the turn. By 5:30 p.m., I was headed back to the airport, still without checking into a Los Angeles hotel.

    Reraising with small pairs before the flop is:
    A) Dangerous
    B) A bad play
    C) Done by many amateurs
    D) All of the above

    Answer: A